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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Mr. Paul David Jones, Esq. Crazy People Make Better Artists: A Tall Tale


Paul Jones 6 EyesBy Derrick White

Wow! Do you feel it? I’m sure you do. Crisp and clean, there is something special happening all around. Stop and you can sense the exciting, vibrant, tingling taste. An arts, music, food and social scene have momentum in East Texas. Everything from incredible live music infused with the smell of BBQ to the hint of rose petals in a locally brewed beer. It is a great time to be here.

[Writer’s note: this article is better enjoyed with any Neil Young song you may have available playing in the background, a BBQ sandwich and a Rose City Pale Ale.]

There is a nucleus for these sorts of powerful movements, a positively charged central core. There is usually a genius, rebel, freak, or creative crazy person in the middle (kind of like when artist Edouard Manet sparked the modern Impressionist movement in the 1860’s). There is something very special about having outsider visual artist Paul Jones living and working in Tyler, Texas. He exudes an imaginative, groovy vibe. Paul is “Keep Austin Weird,” “Portlandia,” and “The Independent Order of Odd Fellows,” all rolled into one. If you’ve met him, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. He is the most influential living artist for my own work by far. A tall, robust and pungent lumbersexual, Paul brings an honest, casual and natural creativity to his every act of living, whether it is cooking, family, painting, playing guitar, storytelling or teaching art at Tyler Junior College.

Paul Jones Jazz HandsHowever, our local folk hero comes from humble beginnings. Abandoned as a baby out in the oilfields of West Texas, Paul Jones was raised by prairie dogs and leaf-nosed bats before being found and adopted by a kindly couple who wish to remain unknown. I’ve got to bet that his old man became fascinated with his actions, turned him loose, his mama too. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t do. As a young boy he spent his formative years under the guidance of his accepted uncle, Tom Beaver, originally a West Virginia woodsman, relocated up the Mississippi in St. Louis. As a way of amusing his uncle, Paul swiftly learned to tell elaborate and thrill-seeking tales. He could spin a yarn better than anyone.

While Paul was still a young man he returned to Texas by riding a tornado. Jones had the time of his life in Texas becoming very Tex-centric. He says he wouldn’t swap Texas for the whole rest of the United States even if you threw in Canada and Alaska too. Paul settled in DeSoto, south of Dallas, where he started the town’s very first street gang ‘Mr. Doo Club’ or otherwise known as M.D.C (these initials were later stolen, changed and incorporated into D.M.C by some hip-hop group from New York). Restless and incensed he became a guitar wielding front man for the post-punk, pre-grunge, somewhat famous, rock band Llama Nose, singing ireful and often disturbing lyrics about elderly relatives, gelatinous desserts and a fish eating its own parents. Then he set his sights on a new target. Denton, Texas was a quiet, sleepy, peaceful community, now it is considered a college party town because, in part, of Paul David Jones (little known fake fact: Fry Street is named after Paul’s 4am campfire bacon breakfast stories he would recount every other Saturday in the middle of the road).

Paul Jones Black MetalPaul later spent time in Waxahachie, Texas influencing a generation of other outsider artists with his outlandish style, subjects and methods. When the outlaw printmakers The Amazing Hancock Brothers would come to town, they were frightened and called Paul the most wild thing of all. Paul will sometimes let ceramic face-jug legend Carl Block play bass guitar for him, but he makes Carl wear a kilt! When Paul travels to Austin, Daniel Johnston pesters him for his autograph and Wayne White from Los Angeles is constantly calling asking for catchy words and phrases. Paul continually goes on strange and wonderful adventures, namely his annual co-birthday celebration with Stephen King, the late Larry Hagman, the late Chuck Jones and comedian Bill Murray. These days Bill Murray is the only person who still speaks to Paul, but let’s face it, two of the other guys are dead and Stephen King is a real weirdo.

Journeying to East Texas as a devoted married man and father of two, Paul lived in Bullard’s trees as an owl for a brief period before building both a land-bound pirate ship and a severely high tree house not suitable for habitation. Nowadays, Paul has settled down. He has founded his offbeat organization T.I.T.A.N (Twilight In The After-Noon) encouraging middle-aged men to begin enjoying their benefits of old age early, wearing one-piece Dickies coveralls, driving mobility scooters, and eating supper at 4pm (as an active T.I.T.A.N member I must admit, it’s a little uncomfortable and requires way too many naps).

Paul Jones CollaborationPaul’s artwork is still edgy and his presence is still implicit. You’ll see him around town having an art show, playing a gig, eating some chicken of the cave, maybe enjoying a locally brewed beer or pulling someone’s leg (sometimes literally) and, you’ll feel it, an exciting, vibrant, constant hum. You will actually recognize what’s going on, at this time, in our area. That special something, the ambiance that comfortingly tells you “hey, if that loud, weird, facial haired dude is here, this must be cool,” and do you know what? It is. It is authentic. It’s moxie. It is a great time to be here. Climb aboard fellow pirates, we aren’t going anywhere because we are already here.

Paul earned his Associates of Arts degree from Cedar Valley College, Lancaster, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Tyler and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas, Denton. If you wish to feed off his vivacity, Paul currently has some of his weird and astonishing art on view now and for sale on Saturday February 15th in a group exhibition hosted by Cork: Food and Drink (5201 S. Broadway Ave. / Times Square Center, Tyler).

But come with the understanding, Paul Jones is both the Bill Murray and the Paul Bunyan of East Texas. You may have to stand in line to meet him.

Paul is available on Facebook – Paul David Jones.

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Tyler Museum of Art Creativity Camps Begin

Tyler Museum of Art Creativity Camps 2018

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. M-F * Ages 6-12 * $40 per day/$175 per week

TMA World Tour 2018      June 25-29

We’ll expand the visual arts to include music and performance. In addition to our visual art activities, our young artists will make musical instruments, learn a song, and play a mini-concert at the end of the week.

Upside-down and Backward      July 9-13

Everything looks different from a fresh perspective. Drawing underwater, painting with spaghetti, there’s no telling what will happen when we change the way we make art. This camp is all about real creativity, and our young artists will help us brainstorm up new, exciting projects all week long.

Beachcombers’ Paradise     July 16-20

Love the seashore but hate sunburns and foot-scorching sand? Come explore marine environments through art! Biology, art and fun merge into one great experience as we learn about the weird, wonderful world of sea life and environments, and express our new knowledge through art.

5 Days Away from Rose City   July 23-27

Some of the country’s greatest artists call the Lone Star State home. We will explore the geographical regions of Texas and the artists who gain inspiration in them, ending up right here in East Texas.

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6×6@110 Continues at Gallery Main Street

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Skip the line, purchase tickets in advance HERE.
Purchase VIP tickets HERE.

The annual 6×6@110 is an art fundraising project to benefit Gallery Main Street in Downtown Tyler, Texas. The gallery is a City of Tyler facility operated with the cooperation of the Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition, an all-volunteer group of artists who schedule and jury fine arts exhibits and organize projects. All of the net proceeds of 6×6@110 will go to support those activities.

The annual 6×6@110 fundraising project will be held June 6th at 6pm. Each piece will be sold for $20, with all proceeds going to help fund the City of Tyler Main Street Department, which operates Gallery Main Street.

The name “6×6@110” reflects the fact that all artwork sold in the show will be 6”x6”, and will be shown at Gallery Main Street at 110 W. Erwin, Downtown Tyler.

For more info on this project go to downtowntylerarts.com, call (903)593-6905, or follow the Downtown Tyler Facebook Page.

The 2017 6×6@110 featured over 1000 works by hundreds of participants. The project earned the distinction of receiving the Best Promotional Event award from the Texas Downtown Association.

First Solo Show Opening

Help celebrate the opening of Gallery Main Street’s first fine art solo artist exhibit on Saturday, May 12th, 5:30-8pm. This free event will feature the opportunity to meet the artist and be among the first to see and purchase pieces from the exhibit. The exhibit will run through June 4th.

The jury will select the top three groups of submittals and then additional information and show descriptions will be submitted. The jury will review all additional information and will announce the solo artist on April 28th.

Other Upcoming Exhibits

Remaining shows this year are:

  • Solo Show #1 – Opening May 12th
  • “6x6x10” – Deadline June 1st, opening June 6th
  • Solo Show #2 – Deadline June 17th, opening July 14th
  • “Assemblies” – Deadline July 29th, opening August 11th
  • “Alternate Perspective” – Deadline September 30th, opening October 13th
  • Holiday Market – Deadline November 25th, opening December 8th

You can enter your art at DowntownTylerArts.com. For more info call (903)593-6905 or go to DowntownTylerArts.com.

Gallery Main Street features a new exhibit of original art approximately every eight weeks. Each exhibit opens with a Saturday evening reception that features music, an opportunity to meet the artists, refreshments, and more. The Opening Receptions are free and open to the public.

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Art Events Warming Up For Summer

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Events & Classes

June 16th (11am-11:30pm) June 17th (11am-4pm) – Junebug Art and Music Festival – Calling all artists! Junebug is an annual community Art and Music festival with an afternoon farmers market. This event encompasses art in its many forms. There will be teachers of weaving and soap making, along with hands on pottery wheel demonstrations. Attendees’ senses will be engulfed by the sights, sound, smell, and feel of all that is to be offered at this very unique art event in a very quaint little artsy community. The show will offer up a stage filled with eclectic musicians, bands, and songwriters. Saturday there will be a community Farmers Market where locals can sell their organic and/or locally sourced products. Vendor and artist applications are available at theforgebenwheeler.com. The family-friendly festival, which is located in the tiny art enclave of Ben Wheeler,TX, highlights the work of artists, musicians, and artisans from the Lone Star state. Headquartered on the three-acre park-like property surrounding the FORGE (a local restaurant, bar, and music venue), the festival will give attendees an opportunity to witness the creative process through “live art” displays as well as the chance to actively join in the process. For more information email junebugsummerfair@gmail.com.

June 22nd (7-9pm) – Paperbark Studio Pop Up will be held at Strada Caffe, 302 E. Front St., Tyler. Come join us for a pop-up art show featuring Paperbark Studio as well as craft beer, wine, and small plates, espresso bar and pastry case. Come enjoy a wonderful summer evening of local art!

June 26th (6-8pm) – Kids Canvas Paint Party – Tyler Parks and Recreation is hosting a Kids Paint Party at the Glass Recreation Center for children ages 7-12 years old. For more information, please visit TylerParksandRec.com.

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